“The first step to good health is to overcome constipation and indigestion… These two factors are the origin of all diseases. So many folk come to see me with so-called different complaints, but the origin of them all is always the same, constipation and indigestion.”
- Dorothea Snook, 1964
‘Gut Instinct: Mrs Snook’s Diet’ tells the story of Dorothea Snook (2014-2008) and her vintage plant-based diets for those suffering from various ailments, including cancer, diabetes and arthritis.
Known as the “nature granny” and a friend of pioneering holistic health practitioner Ann Wigmore, mother-of-seven Mrs Snook was a high profile Australian naturopath who gained an international reputation for her success in treating cancer sufferers on her raw food diets.
But her outspoken beliefs and uncompromising personality ruffled feathers among the medical community, leading to an infamous 1990 court case that put her out of business overnight.
Greta Puls, an Australian journalist and science writer investigates the events that led to the court case and its aftermath.
Today Mrs Snook is rated alongside ethicist Professor Peter Singer and Nobel Laureate JM Coetzee in the history of vegetarianism in Australia. Her diets share a provenance with Doctor Benedict Lust and the famed 19th century German monk, Father Sebastian Kneipp; founders of the nature cure movement who were said to have inspired Gandhi.
Mrs Snook learned her diets and trained in naturopathy with the accomplished Boston-trained naturopath, Doctor Alice Caporn who held four degrees, including a PhD, and ran a nature cure health retreat on what was then known as British Honduras during the 1930s.
Both women were crusaders for a plant-based diet, and advocated that physical and mental illness begins in the gut, caused by eating the wrong kinds of foods – a view now increasingly supported by gut microbiome science.
‘Gut Instinct: Mrs Snook’s Diet’ includes interviews with family and former clients, newspaper and archival material, and modern-day and vintage case studies – plus Mrs Snook’s famous gut cleanse diet and the original nature cure diets and recipes.